Truth, Understanding, Insight

Prophecy strengthens Faith

12th February 2010, mgh


2) A Nation as Witness to God's Existence

The Bible is very much a history of the Jewish nation, as the founding fathers of the nation were faithful and worshipped Yahweh, the Creator, in the midst of idolatrous nations. Abraham had been given specific promises (about 2000BC) related to his seed.

And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17: 2-9)

The Jewish people are descended from Abraham and despite their failure to be obedient to God's law they were to remain a sign to all people, both Jew and Gentile. The Jews are Yahweh's witnesses, a sign to all nations.

But what does it mean to be witnesses?

The Jews' destiny was clearly prophesied, so that those who read God's Word can know that Yahweh has a plan that must be accomplished and the fate of the Jews has verified Yahweh's existence. This gives a foundation for belief and faith. We need such a sign to give us assurance and confidence. Isaiah explains the significance of Israel as a witness to us all.

Let all the nations be gathered together....: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.(Isaiah 43: 9-12)

How can Israel be the witness to God's Existence?

As stated above, it is through prophecies related to the nation of Israel. Very early in Israel's history. Moses (about 1250BC) told the people that their attitude had not reflected the qualities and obedience that their God required of his chosen nation. The Lord had made a promise to their founding father, Abraham, and that promise would not fail, but the nation would be punished when they were disobedient to the laws that they had been given. They would be destroyed as a nation, scattered among the heathen (the other nations/Gentiles) and a remnant would survive. However they would not be completely destroyed or forsaken, because Yahweh had made a promise to their forefathers and this promise, a covenant, would not be broken.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.

And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him , if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.(Deuteronomy 4: 26-31)

The important thing that we note here is the promise, a promise that would not be broken. Unlike our world leaders and politicians, who make promises that they don't keep, Yahweh will keep his promise to Jews and Gentiles.

In this we must trust. It is part of our faith. We can see the evidence in the unfolding of Jewish history over thousands of years.

Again, early in their nationhood, Moses (about 1250BC) explains that despite their dispersal among the nations the promise of survival was given. After their dispersion and persecution among the nations they would be gathered out of all nations.

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.(Deuteronomy 30: 1-3)